Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) mans a secret safe house/interrogation chamber for the CIA. His life both professionally and personally is about as buoyant as an anchor dragging along the sea bed. One day, the notorious bad egg Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is brought to the safe house for interrogation and water boarding. Some “terrorists” arrive, trashing the Safe House and Weston flees for his life taking the cool Frost as his prisoner. Inevitably the two grow a “Stockholm Syndrome” love-hate bond founded on wits, nerve, agility and experience.
I am beginning to miss the great expensive shots in movies these days. The fashion for hand held, wobbley, out of focus, gritty camera shots works better on television programmes that want to look like movies. However, on film, the style is tiring to watch and feels a little cheap. When you pay good money to watch something on a big screen with an expensive projector, you want a bit of cinema for your money, not something that looks like its been shot on a mobile phone. Not to mention that it can make you nauseous.
The film is ok but other aspects let it down. Weston is a character whose journey through movie sees him grow from boy to man. Reynolds seemed an odd choice to play the character, possibly too old to be believably naive. He seemed more like a Ryan Gosling understudy. Also I found Washingtons character, aptly named Frost, to be just a little too cool. As a result, his character was quite plain and lacked depth. I realise he was meant to be an enigma but even enigmas can enjoy, for example, a sense of menace. His expressionless face just made him dull to watch.
That said, this film is fine if you’ve never been to the cinema before. But if you’re expecting something of the calibre of American Gangster, you’ll be disappointed.
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